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A fantastic resource

Ysgol Pant Y Rhedyn’s school garden in Llanfairfechan is a fantastic outdoor resource. You will find it in the field directly behind school. It is accessed from the school drive in school hours or via the gate on Maes Dolfor at evenings and weekends. Both of us have helped to develop the garden over the past couple of years and we’ve given it a little green space on Your Hwb so we can tell you more about it.

The simple idea behind it is to develop this space into a outside base. A place where children, teachers and families are all able to enjoy gardening and the outdoors. It is run entirely by volunteers.

The school garden is there to help children to learn practical gardening skills. How to grow vegetables and fruit. To simply enjoy being outside in natural surroundings. It’s an opportunity to be outside. Have time out. Have fun. Learn new life skills.


Our Garden

Currently, there are six big raised beds, a small but growing orchard of fruit trees, a small shed and two bird feeders. And it’s been created through community effort.

Pedro has made us benches out of recycled pallets. Carol has given us old feed tubs to use as planters. Tony donated some wonderful rhubarb plants. Jake and Nippy Norm and Dafyyd have given us pallets. Dylan and Simon helped install three new raised beds. Mimo has tirelessly watered, mended, painted and planted. Huw has built benches and mowed the grass. Rick built us a compost heap again out of recycled pallets. Margaret gave us garden tools and gloves. Steve, Steph, Catherine, Barbara and Jo donated seed. Sara has donated bags of compost; Diane sacks of manure. Platt’s Farm have given us bags of woodchip. Craig and Gwyn both donated tyres – we are using some of them as planters and the children enjoy bowling the others around the garden! Catherine and Tracey help to run the Friday club. Fran and Bleddyn gave us willow cuttings and Richard helped plant up a willow arch and the four legs of a future, yet to be defined, animal. We’ve negotiated the installation of a new water main free of charge. This now means that the garden can be easily watered when needed, much to Mimo’s relief! And Neil has sourced us three disused boats to incorporate into our plans. And the list goes on…

This is just the beginning of this school garden community project. And to keep it moving along, it will continue to need support and practical help.

This year

We plan to use two of the raised based for vegetables grown from seed. One for strawberries. One for soft fruit (raspberries, blackcurrants), One for pumpkins. And last but not least, one for wildflowers. The children are already really excited. The ground has started to dry out and they can’t wait to get planting.

Check out our school garden wish list to see where we may need practical help this year.


Reading Boat

Part of this year’s work will focus on introducing a “reading boat” to the school garden. It will be a place where you can sit for some time out or space to read. And we want to surround it with a sensory garden. A sensory garden is a collection of plants and materials with different textures, shapes, colours, scents and heights. It’s laid out in such a way as to stimulate the senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Sensory gardens like this can be therapeutic and a special place for their visitors. They make for a lovely place to escape to, to take time-out in and simply relax.

Plas Menai are kindly donating a disused boat which will become our reading boat. And we will need to build a raised bed behind it. We’re looking for help both with materials and the actual building of the bed. Do let us know if you can give us a hand with this in any way.


Polytunnel

We also want to fundraise for a large, agricultural-grade polytunnel. Why? Because it will give us an outside space that can be utilised throughout the year. Invaluable being based in North Wales with its’ variable climate and weather!

Half its space will incorporate raised beds. This means we will be be able to grow fruit and veg which need heat to thrive. The other half of the space will have work benches which you can raise and lower, creating a work space when needed or a larger space for groups to work in.

The weather, particularly this Winter, has frankly been rubbish for gardening. A polytunnel gives us covered outside space, irrespective of the elements. And we’d like to warmly thank the Village Inn who have already donated £200 towards the project and to Waitrose where we raised £180 through their community green disk donation scheme. In total we need to raise approximately £1,700 so we’re already 20% of the way there!


Last Year’s Harvest

Last year, our school garden was an amazing success.

Plants were grown from seed, watered, weeded and harvested. We planted trees and learnt how bees help us to grow fruit and veg. Resident birds and butterflies made good use of our planting.  Conwy Council donated soil for our three new raised beds; it arrived too late for us to get our strawberry patch up and running. So instead, we sowed wild flowers in this bed, thanks to Peachy, and the result was stunning – cornflowers, poppies, daisies, clover, mallow – and lasted all Summer.

We harvested 30 Crown Prince pumpkins and more courgettes than we’d care to mention. A 7 kilo marrow (it was weighed at the local sweetshop!), beetroots, potatoes, onions, french beans,  and runner beans. We picked cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, kale, baby sweetcorn, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb. And we grew rosemary, chives, thyme, mint, sunflowers, calendula, sweet-peas, gladioli and geraniums. The children really enjoyed getting their hands dirty and seeing a practical result for the hard work they put in. In fact it was a challenge to get them to go back into school once the bell rang because they were having such a good time!


Practical Gardening

Most of this work was achieved by our lunchtime gardening club, which currently runs on a Thursday or Friday. And some weekend sessions when parents and children came down to school to garden and play and chat. We’ll be doing the same this year, this time armed with a couple of camping stoves and some home-bake so we can sit down, make a panad and catch up. All are welcome to come and join in.


Gardening Club

Gardening club has proved to be very popular at school. In September, 45% of children at school showed an interest in getting involved which was very exciting.

The whole school garden is run by volunteers. There’s usually three of us who come along to run lunchtime sessions. We have had to limit the number of children who take part in each session but if did have more helpers, more children could join in every week. You don’t need to know anything about gardening as we can teach you as we go along. You will need a DBS check before you can get involved and school can easily sort out for you – it takes just a few weeks to come through.

If you would like to get involved with Gardening Club, send an email to swyddfa@pantyrhedyn.conwy.sch and we can go from there.

Making people happy

Stories from the people who use Your Hwb.

Great mag, servicing the area well. Lots of nice feedback from our ad in here

Cai Ross Paysanne, Deganwy

Very informative. Loved it. Well done Ladies.

Deborah Holden Riverside Cafe, Llanfairfecahn

On a recent walk from Penmaenmawr to Abergwyngregyn, we called into the Village Inn. May I say what a superb meal. We picked up a copy of Your Hwb. What a great idea, please keep up the good work.

Mrs & Mrs Bawden Abergwyngregyn

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